Hodge: Hometown hospice care for sick kids worthy endeavour

The Wish Come True Society, a local non-profit organization, is determined to create a Respite/Hospice House for Children in Kelowna.

Like many others, I often marvel at the irony or perhaps poignant timing of things.

Last week I was blessed with the birth of my great-granddaughter Arya.

Naturally, that event flashed me back to the day that my granddaughter Chelsea first entered the world more than two decades ago—and a flood of memories from that period flowed forth.

On Wednesday, Teresa and I attended an Uptown Rutland Business Association after 5 social.

While there, we were reminded of an upcoming event critical in helping critically ill children.

The Wish Come True Society, a local non-profit organization, is determined to create a Respite/Hospice House for Children in Kelowna.

That’s a challenging quest and one I hope the community fully embraces. It certainly is a need worthy of resolve.

On Wednesday, July will host the 8th annual Ugly Jacket Classic Golf Tournament in an effort to kick off that quest.

Currently, any family with a terminally ill child, or child in need of constant care, must travel to Vancouver for assistance.

Such a scenario is not only physically and financially difficult; it is also emotionally upsetting for all involved.

The Wish Come True Society recognized eight years ago the need for local families with terminally ill children to have access to essential, quality care for their kids without the additional risk of the financial and emotional hardship caused by having to leave their homes, jobs and support systems to travel to Canuck Place in Vancouver.

During the past seven years, the Ugly Jacket tournament helped raise funds to assist families travelling to Vancouver.

While that honourable effort was greatly appreciated, organizers faced a scenario two years ago that helped alter their fundraising focus.

Nine-year-old Marcus Smythe and his family were the recipient of the annual event’s funds and assistance.

However, all little Marcus really wanted during that tough time period was to see his friends and his puppy dog.

Sadly, Marcus passed away less than two months after the tournament.

It was at that point that the Wish Come True Society decided it was more important to build a respite/hospice house for children here in Kelowna —rather than continuously sending an individual family to Vancouver.

When Teresa and I returned home from the  URBA event, my mind continued to replay the trauma and drama my world went through in early October, some 22 years ago.

My stepdaughter Shauna was having severe complications in the final stages of pregnancy and both her life and that of yet unborn daughter Chelsea were in major threat.

Shauna was flown by air ambulance to The Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

After a couple hours of intense surgery and skilled medical mastery, the world welcomed Chelsea Rae and saved Shauna as well.

Chelsea then endured several more weeks of outstanding care at the Children’s Hospital before she could return to Kelowna.

I have no doubt that without the magnificent skill and knowledge of surgeons and staff at that Vancouver, facility my step-daughter, granddaughter and now great granddaughter would not be here today.

The stress for all involved at the time was huge and certainly the time and costs of trips back and forth to the coast only added to the stress levels.

I relate to the similar concerns local families face today, which is why I fully support the goal of Brad Krauza, Shaun Bos, Les Bellamy and others involved with the Wish Come True Society.

I encourage you to take part in or support the annual Ugly Jacket Classic Golf Tournament sponsored by Bellamy Homes and Country 100.7.

There are sponsorship opportunities available as well as room for more teams.

For further information or to register contact www.wishcometruesociety.com or phone 250-899-2112, 250-212-6264 or 250-215-5557.


Last chance this week to advance poll and remind folks in the West Kelowna-Kelowna riding to get out and cast a ballot on voting day, July 10.

Despite the number of candidates, I encourage you all to get out and vote.

Send your message to Victoria—whatever that message may be.


Kelowna Capital News